Films worth celebrating: The class of 62, 72 and 82

Below is a list of memorable films that are celebrating their 30th, 40th and 50th anniversaries this year. Some films have an impact on us and our lives due to the time and circumstances in which we saw them, and they somehow resonate with us due to the emotions we are experiencing at a certain time in our lives.

I was a teenager back in 1982 and in my final year of High School before going off to College. It was a year of big changes, of preparation and anticipation for a more mature independent life. As a senior at school, people suddenly treated me like a veteran about to graduate into the real world and I felt a pressure to think about life in a more serious way. It’s a time that many people remember with fondness but it also comes with mixed feelings of sadness as one leaves behind old friends and a way of life while preparing to start a new one in a different world of uncertainty.

Going to College for most people meant moving far away from home to a new city and a new culture of independence. It was my last chance to enjoy the life I would soon leave behind and never see again.  It’s a nostalgic time that was so aptly and beautifully portrayed in George Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973), which will have its 40th anniversary next year.

The movies I watched during this period somehow reflected that nostalgia and the new world of adulthood that I would soon be entering. I saw in these films with hope and optimism, but also a sense of loss and alienation. I remember The World According to Garp (1982) particularly as being a film that reflected those hopes and possibilities with a sense of loss. I somehow related to it and even read the book afterward. That was when I first discovered the writing of John Irving and I have enjoyed his books and the movies they spawned ever since.

Blade Runner was another film I remember with a sense of profound isolation and entering into a new alien world. I think that was the first time I read a book on which a movie was based before I actually saw the movie and discovered Philip Dick’s surreal and strange world that I imagined as foreshadowing the loneliness and isolation I would soon feel in my own life as I struggled with new realities.

Aguirre, The Wrath of God also made a deep impression on me when I first saw it maybe a year or so later when I first arrived in Toronto to attend College. This German movie was released in Germany at the very end of December of 1972 but did not arrive in the US until 1977, and I did not see it until much later at the now defunct second run theaters around 1984. It was about an expedition of Spanish explorers striking out into unknown territory and discovering their limitations while dealing with their darker natures, which is very much what I was going through in my own life.

Now, whenever I watch one of these films, I remember those nostalgic times of optimism and uncertainty. Which films do you remember resonating with your life?

50th anniversary:
Lawrence of Arabia                            1962     David Lean
Lolita                                                1962     Stanley Kubrick
Dr. No                                                1962     Terence Young              UK
Hatari!                                              1962     Howard Hawks
Jules and Jim                                     1962     Fran├žois Truffaut          France
My Life to Live                                   1962     Jean-Luc Godard          France
Knife in the Water                              1962     Roman Polanski            Poland
Ivan’s Childhood                                 1962     Andrei Tarkovsky          Russia
Sanjuro                                              1962     Akira Kurosawa            Japan
Harakiri                                             1962     Masaki Kobayashi         Japan
Gay Purr-ee                                        1962     Abe Levitow               

40th anniversary:
Aguirre: The Wrath of God                  1972     Werner Herzog            Germany
Cabaret                                              1972     Bob Fosse
Deliverance                                        1972     John Boorman
Fellini’s Roma                                     1972     Federico Fellini            Italy
The Godfather                                    1972     Francis Ford Coppola
Last Tango in Paris                              1972     Bernardo Bertolucci      France/Italy
The Ruling Class                                  1972     Peter Medak                UK
Slaughterhouse-Five                            1972     George Roy Hill            
Solaris                                                1972     Andrei Tarkovsky         Russia
Fritz the Cat                                       1972     Ralph Bakshi                

30th anniversary:
Blade Runner                                       1982     Ridley Scott
Conan the Barbarian                            1982     John Milius
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial                     1982     Steven Spielberg
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan            1982     Nicholas Meyer
Poltergeist                                           1982     Tobe Hooper
The Thing                                            1982     John Carpenter
Tron                                                    1982     Steven Lisberger

Quest for Fire                                     1982     Jean-Jacques Annaud     Cdn/France/US
Fitzcarraldo                                        1982     Werner Herzog               Germany
Burden of Dreams                                1982     Les Blank
48 Hrs                                                1982     Walter Hill

Das Boot (The Boat)                            1982     Wolfgang Petersen          Germany
Sophie’s Choice                                  1982     Alan J. Pakula
Gandhi                                               1982     Richard Attenborough     UK/India
The Verdict                                         1982     Sydney Lumet

An Officer and a Gentleman                 1982     Taylor Hackford
Diner                                                  1982     Barry Levinson
Porky’s                                                1982     Bob Clark
The World According to Garp                1982     George Roy Hill
Fast Times at Ridgemont High             1982     Amy Heckerling
Tootsie                                               1982     Sydney Pollack
Victor Victoria                                     1982     Blake Edwards

Koyaanisqatsi                                      1982     Godfrey Reggio
Pink Floyd The Wall                              1982     Alan Parker                    UK
The Plague Dogs                                  1982     Martin Rosen                 
The Secret of NIMH                              1982     Don Bluth



Geek Girl said...

It's a bit of a 2 edged sword - remembering the films from different points in our lives. It can bring on such a range of emotions. I have more negative memories than good ones so I will take a pass on going down memory lane with this.

Susan Cooper said...

Gosh, It is a bit like walking down memory lane. One movie comes to mind called "Boomer" with Diane Keaton. It had a profound affect on me at that point in time. The movies on your list that I have fond memories of are "Star Trek" and "ET".

Lubna said...

When I was growing up, we were not that exposed to English films in India. If at all we got to see a film it was several years later. Cable TV has now changed all that, plus off course the theater's now show several English films.
That said, the few films that I watched and which did make an impact on me while I was at school were Free Willy, Sound of Music (Shown to us in school), Sister Act, The Associate (I so loved Whoopi Goldberg, I still do), You've got mail -- I love little bookstores-- I think by this time, cable TV had invaded our homes.
Anand was my first Bollywood movie -- saw it in the late 1970s and I had barely understood it, but the sad ending is still etched in my mind.

Jahnavi said...

Through one of my friends, I had the chance to watch The Lawrence of Arabia and it was a remarkable movie and very well taken. I can't wait to see more from your list.